Gunners supporters are expected to gather outside Emirates Stadium ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal
Mikel Arteta believes it will be ‘great’ to see Arsenal fans lining the streets outside Emirates Stadium on Thursday night to cheer the Arsenal team coach into the stadium ahead of the Europa League semi-final against Villarreal.
Supporters are once again planning to protest against the ownership of Stan Kroenke before the second leg of the semi-final, which Arsenal go into trailing 2-1 following defat in Spain last week.
But, mindful of the importance of the game, there are also plans to welcome to team coach into the ground when it arrives approximately two hours before kick-off.
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And Arteta says that would be a big boost to his squad ahead of a tie that will define Arsenal’s season.
What has been said?
When asked if he felt the players would be lifted by fans welcoming them into the ground, the Arsenal boss said: “I think that would be great.
“We’ve been missing them so much. We need them and for the players and the team to feel that they are right behind them supporting them.
“I think it is the 10th time the club has played a European semi-final, so it’s a big moment for us. Hopefully we can have them closer than we have already in the last few months.”
Arteta’s message to supporters
Arteta was also keen to make it clear that he felt the Arsenal fans had every right to stage another protest against the club’s owners, following on from the large gathering that took place before the Everton game last month.
But he urged those planning on attending to ensure the protest was done in a peaceful way, given what went on at the weekend when Manchester United fans got into Old Trafford and forced Sunday’s match against Liverpool to be postponed.
“I think that they have to be able to express themselves,” Arteta said. “If it is done in a specific way they have the right to do it.
“We will try to prepare for the game in the best possible way. I wouldn’t like to use any excuses if something happens with that.
“I know that the only purpose of the fans is to defend the club and they want the best for the team and we will try to do the same.”
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